Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 8: Good News and Bad News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week 7: The Field Is White (and Gold)

Mom note:  These are the 5 questions this week:
1) Where is your new area?  Do you have a snail mail address for me?
2) Who is your new companion?  Are you getting along?  Do you feel like you can learn a lot from her?
3) What did the first few days in Illinois bring?  Scheduled interviews with the president?  Training? Assignments?
4) Do you really speak that much Spanish in IL?
5) Is your new P-Day back to Mondays now?   

Mom, distrito 5A, Kent

To my one true love, distrito 5A: I thought of you guys a lot this week. Especially when I tried deep dish pizza for the first time, and again when I had my very first Chipotle burrito. (; love you guys.

Momma, in answer to your questions:
1. I'm in the Bloomington-Normal area, in the Peoria stake. Mi compañera y yo somos las sólas hermanas en nuestra zone, which is half of the stake. We live in an apartment, right next to the sisters in our distrito. I do have an address. But if you send letters to the mission office, I think that's better because then it won't get lost around transfer time. Also, we have a new missionary meeting in a month or so, so that will probably be the soonest I get that package....thanks for sending it though. It is already started to get real cold.....I'm gonna go buy a coat and some fleece-lined tights too today... 

2. Mi nueva compañera se llama Hermana Israelsen. Whom, funnily enough, I was aware of prior to when I reported. When I opened my call at school, one of my ward members told me his cousin was serving in that same mission. Guess what her name was...yup. So that's pretty cool. She's on her last two transfers, so when she's finished training me in 11 weeks, she'll be going back to Providence Utah. She also went to USU before the mish, so that's pretty cool. She also went to the same high school as one of my elders, Elder Braden Jensen. So yeah, she's awesome. She's a great trainer; she's definitely gonna keep me in line--not that I'm particularly wild, but it's good.

3. And then the first couple of days. Oh boy. So, way back when at the CCM, Sunday night we had a devotional/testimony meeting with all those who would be leaving in the next few days. It was great--and in English. Then, since our bus was leaving at 2:30 AM (about five hours later) we didn't sleep, and packed instead. I don't think I've ever put off packing that long but we just didn't have time before hand. Then we drove the 40 minutes to the airport, but our flight didn't leave until 7:30. Oh boy.....I kind of dozed in the airport, but not really well. Once on the plane, I slept so hard. As in, I was asleep before we even took off. I remember the little introduction of the flight attendants, sort of. But yeah. Then we had a four hour flight to Chicago, where we were met by the assistants--two current and two in training, one of whom was a Spanish speaking elder. Then we met up with the Fenns and waited for a while for the rest of the missionaries coming in. In total, we were 11: four hermanas (three from CCM, one from SL who had been serving in Peru for a month after the CCM there then came home for medical stuff and here is her reassignment), and then two English sisters and the rest English elders. Then we drove to the mission home where we had training, ate food, had more training, ate more food, and had some more training and interviews. So I ate Italian beef sandwiches for the first time and then deep dish pizza with some amazing salad. Oh man. Delicious. We finally got to sleep, then in the morning had some breakfast casserole then headed to the stake center for more training and the transfer meeting. There we got our companions and areas, then headed out. Ours was a two hour drive. We met up with the sisters for a dinner with some members (in English). All I did was the first half of la Primera Visión. Then the first lesson I was really a part of was with a part member family, the Martinez familia. I was so nervous, but it went well. Oh and we went to the store to buy some sheets so I could sleep. Whew.

4. So yes we do speak Spanish quite frequently, but we switch between the languages a lot, which confuses my brain a veces. But Hna Israelsen and I try to speak Spanish to each other. And we do all our prayers in Spanish. I feel like my language is already improving, so it's all good in the hood here.

5. Yes, P day is Monday now. However, at district meeting last Wednesday, the zone leaders told us that we got permission to go to the temple the following Tuesday, if we could find a ride. So, we did. We left this morning at 4:30 and drove almost three hours to the Nauvoo temple. Oh man. It was, it was unreal. Amazing. And, to top it off, guess what the new name today was? Uh, yeah: mine. So, that was a tender mercy from the Lord. So great.

Okay, well I'm not gonna write much, but here's a breve resumen: last week, we had a total of 17 lessons. I'm definitely not confident in my Spanish, nor in my ability to teach, but I can honestly say I feel the spirit in every lesson. I'd tell you more. But that's all you get.

It's been two weeks since my last P day, so I've been in need of this day for a while.

The biggest thing I learned this week is that there is no way to prepare yourself emotionally for a mission. I knew I didn't know what to expect, but it wasn't this. You just get so engaged in the work and care so much about these people you've never met before. It's crazy. I was almost crying yesterday because one woman refused to take the LdM, (Libro de Mormon (Book of Mormon)) no matter what. It just makes me tan triste.... But I can also say that there is no where I'd rather be, and nothing I'd rather do.

I read Romans 8 in the temple this morning,and verse 28 hit me so hard. Go check it out. SO applicable for missionaries.

Love you all so much. I know this Gospel is the most important thing anyone could hear. And that the people who don't want to hear it just aren't ready, so we just need to get out there and find those people who God has prepared. I just hope I'm worthy for the work, and that I'm able to do all that is asked of me.

Con Todo Mi Amor,
Su Amorosa Hija y Amiga,
Hermana DeBuck 

Mama: will you email me the recipe for scalloped potatoes? Hna Israelsen loves potatoes like me so we're gonna try making it sometime. Also, could you email me the current balance of my debit card?

Yes, I did spend money last Saturday at Chipotle--we had earned some food made not by us. I just don't wanna go over my balance...hoping to buy some stuff today so I don't freeze...also, my understanding of the current situation with the iPads right now is that at the end of our service, we return the electronic device. But they're working on being able to buy them. I imagine that will probably be all set up by the time I leave, if I decide to buy it that is. Still not sure. Though, I admit, I'm beginning to be converted to this mini....but yes. And then, we won't be riding bikes in the winter so I don't think we need to worry about buying a bike just yet. Just so you know.
One more thing, should I have a medical card with me? I'm not sure... And to be quite honest I haven't looked in my wallet...but just thought I'd ask. Sister Fenn is in charge of medical stuff for the missionaries here, and said something about our family insurance being what we used first and I realized I wasn't sure if I had a card with me/if I needed one with me.
Thanks momma! Love you so much, and appreciate everything you do.

In case you weren't sure what they grow here: it's corn.

  The Nauvoo temple. I have more fotos on mi camera pero, this is all you'll get this week.

 All of us new missionaries, with our trainers, and the Fenn's

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Week 6: Good to Know

I'm in Illinois, and I'm not dead. Maybe you'll hear more from me tomorrow.

Con todo mi amorous,
Su hija

Sent from my iPad

Mom note: You may notice she sent his from her iPad....hmmmm, there are questions formulating in my mind.  

Week 6: Bienvenido a Illinois!

Mom note: This was the note we got from the mission office yesterday.  We just weren't sure we'd hear from our missionary herself this week.

The missionaries have landed safely in Chicago, have met President and Sister Fenn and are headed towards the Mission Home where they will be oriented, treated to Chicago deep dish pizza and spend the night.  President Fenn will interview them tonight and decide who their first companion will be.  Tomorrow they will meet their trainer, have training from President Fenn, and then head out to their area. It is a very exciting time.  We are so grateful to have these fine young men and women in our mission.

FYI here is some information that you did not receive in the welcome packet.
·         Christmas:  we are asking that all packages be sent to the mission office to arrive no later than Dec. 5th.  That way if something is delayed or lost we still have time to recover before the special Christmas fireside where the gifts are handed out. Please mark the packages Christmas so we don’t give them to you missionary early.
·         Facebook:  It is great that our missionaries can use Facebook as a proselyting tool.  While family and friends can follow their missionary on Facebook we request that you don’t comment or even “like” the posts.
·         Mail: Please do not put anything besides your letter in your normal sized envelope. “Puffy or undersized letters are often charged $1.64 in postage due
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me either through email or phone.  Thanks for sharing you missionary with us.

Sister Hall
Mission Secretary

Illinois Chicago West Mission
1319 Butterfield Road, Suite 522
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 6: Adios to the CCM

We didn't get a email letter this week--so far--from Hermana Jill, but a dear senior missionary who lives in Pleasant Grove but is currently serving at the Mexico City MTC sent us this:

My husband and I are Senior Missionaries at the Mexico MTC.  We have enjoyed getting to know and love your wonderful missionaries.  We are going to miss them!

 So that is all we get for now.  She left the CCM in Mexico City and was due to arrive in Chicago this afternoon.  We were hoping for an "arrival" email but so far, nothing.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

CCM: Week 5 1/2--Just a Note

Just letting you know that we leave on Monday. For some reason we had 15 minutes today to email our familias to let them know. I'm not sure why as I did last Tuesday, but I'll take what I get.
Also, could you get me Marina's MTC address? I wanna write to her when I get the chance.
I dunno if we'll get a P day this week so I guess I'll hear from you when I do.

Tu Hija,
Hermana DeBuck

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

CCM Week 5: Hace Muchisimo Tiempo, En una Galaxía Muy Lejana...

Mom note: I didn't ask her any questions this week because my letter to her was too full of info I didn't have time to think of more, so she's on her own this week.
Alrighty. I'm not sure where to empezar sin preguntas de mi mamá. Pero, I will try. (trataré)

First off, let me just give an overview of my feelings about the CCM, porque I feel like that is a necessity.
I really do love it here. The weather is perfect and it's so open and doesn't feel at all like a prison, Jesus prison or otherwise. (Hermana Haws' dad calls the MTC Jesus prison.)
Then, I have got the best maestros of all time. Hermano Villalobos just returned from his mission in May, I believe. He served in the Culiacan mission, if I remember correctly. He just turned 22 and our elders frequently speak to him about how eternal marriage is a prerequisite to get into the celestial kingdom. Yesterday he told us all about his date on Saturday--it didn't happen. So he told us about how he dated this girl before the mission and then the rest of the story up til now. He told us that she is different now than then and so is he. He kind of described it, in the most humble way possible, that he grew so much spiritually on his mission and now they're on different levels with regard to that. 
And it's so cool to think about how that's gonna be true for me probably. I mean, I thought I was spiritual before I left, but now I think I wasn't hardly at all. If I don't grow a lot on my mission then I must be doing something wrong.
And then there's adorable Hermana Velázquez. She told us that while we're away from home and our mothers, she will be our momma. Oh man. She's great. She's cute and tiny and sassy. When she and Jensen get going at it, it is quite the sight to see/hear. Also, she is not exempt from the marriage counsel. There was one day when we walked into class and she was crying. She told us how that day she had seen this guy she had been dating seriously--and engaged--and then he broke it off just before the marriage. At least, we think that's what she said. We can't be sure because our spanish is más o menos. But now she's dating this guy that works/used to work here, Hermano Solomon. They are adorable together. They are three to five years apart (I can't remember what age Hermana Velázquez has), and she's older. We're not sure if that's weird in Mexican/LDS culture but we don't want to offend her or anything so we haven't asked. Either way, I hope it works out. We told her we expect pictures when it happens. I say when because our understanding is that Solomon is going to be speaking with el padre de Hermana Velázquez in a week or, cross your fingers that it all works out. Though I'm sure it will. She deserves it.
Then we have some teachers that come in and help out periodically during the day. And it changes from day to day. There Hermano Sanchez who Bronson calls his "brother from another mother", and there is no better way to describe him. He's like the Mexican version of our ginger Bronson. He's awesome. SO funny. There's also Hermano Peréz, who is 21. He served in Panama, though i can't remember when he got back. He told me yesterday "you know a lot of spanish words." I'm hoping that's a good thing--now if only I could put them to better use. Also, he is honestly probably the most attractive Mexicano I have ever seen. Just as a side note. Then Hermana Arnaud. She is the most adorable little thing of all time. She served in St. George and her English is muy bien. The elderes keep trying to hook up her and Hno Villalobos, but she says that they're just friends. They grew up in the same ward and one of them dated a sibling of the other, so I believe it. The elderes don't, and they are very persistent. Plus, Hna Arnaud has a boyfriend. Anyway. We see some other teachers too on occasion but I don't know much about them. Half the time we don't even know their names....ah well. Suffice it to say that we've got the best set of teachers/supporters in el CCM.

Then there's the food. It's usually honestly really good. A veces, I choose to just eat cereal, but I'm trying to be better at trying new things. Ah well. For the first two or three weeks, the food did some scary things to my digestive system, but now it's all good in the hood. (Todo está bien en el vecindario. Though don't quote me on that.) My favorite by far is the tacos duranos/floutas. They're delicious. Tuesday is pizza for dinner, from Costco. Every week, it is heaven sent. Whoever decided that deserves a prize of some for breakfast we had pan francés. Oh boy. Probably the best French toast I've ever Yes.

My dearest friend Hannah asked me about my living conditions, so I should probably clarify about that. I live like an average human being in America, I believe. We have tile for floors and the bathrooms are generally not bug infested and the casas are made of bricks. It's probably a really sweet deal actually. Our bunk beds are really short so I've hit my head on the top bunk a few times, but not hard enough to do any damage. Honestly, if I wasn't going crazy, I could live here forever. Amo la ciudad de México.

Próximo. ¿Qué pasó esta semana? No estoy segura.... No mucha, pienso.
Obvio, conferencía general. Santa vaca. Ésta fue muy bien, ¿no? mm. Loved it. The afternoon sessions were my favoritas. Also, got to watch the women's conferencía durante la sesión del sacerdocio. Oh boy. That was fantastic. At the beginning, before we started the video, Hermana Pratt told us something along the lines of "I don't know if it's because we're women, but we get to have musical numbers and videos and fun stuff, unlike the Priesthood session." Boy was she right. Those Korean primary kids were straight up adorable. And then the video of women all over the world, bearing testimony of the temple? Mm, yes. I was very glad to be able to understand the Spanish ones without the subtitles--more or less. Very happy about that. I still can't get all the natives say (especially when they don't slow it down for us greenies...) but I think I'll get there.

However, I should mention that I don't feel like I've learned much Spanish here. What I have learned is how to understand Spanish. My speaking capabilities have improved only slightly, and my written is about the same, but I understand so much more. That I think is the reason that the CCM is fantastic for learning Spanish. You get so much more Spanish immersión than you would at Provo. But, that's just me.

Side note: I was looking at the photos on this computer I'm using and guess who i found! Annika Jaccard! Oh baby. I miss her dearly, but I'm sure she's killing it in Washington. As Jensen would put it, she's givin' them heaven.

Okay, so my favorite quote from conference was this, from Jörg Klebingat: "Acknowledge and face your weaknesses, but don't be immobilized by them because some of them will be your companions until you depart this life." So good.
I think his talk was my favorite. Maybe, I dunno. It's hard to escoger. His I loved because it was so straightforward and so true. Hermana Capps enjoyed that he talked about physical wellness. haha
Also, in case you're wondering, we all cheered, sort of, when they announced the first speaker to talk in spanish. Unfortunately, because we were watching the conferencía itself in English, we did have a translator, so no español, for us. But it was still awesome. I'm hoping that I can watch them when I get back and be able to understand it all....what a cool opportunity.

Something weird/cool/odd that happened this week was after the tarde sesión de domingo. One distrito en nuestra zona left yesterday and two of them came into our room with ties tied around their heads, and holding an umbrella. They made us go, one at a time, into there aula after being "cleansed" by standing under the umbrella. Anyway, so basically what happened what we inherited this book that records the "travails" of distritos en zona 5. Along with this nasty girl's sweater that Olsen was supposed to wear yesterday--he was sick so didn't wear it much. Anyway, this book is so funny. Everyone has written in it with the language of scriptures, talking about their time in the CCM. We're all gonna write something for it too. Jensen's got his all drafted. I died, reading it. I'm working on mine. Hermana Powell thinks that Jensen and I will write the best ones. Can't say I disagree, to be honest. Bronson told me he's probably gonna need me to edit his and I told him I love correcting people. (in a joking manner, mind you.) I love editing...

Oh, we got travel plans. Sort of. If you're traveling to "oosa" haha you find out legit travel plans 24 hours before all we know is that our bus leaves at 2:30 am. Fun fun fun! On Sunday night/monday morning. So we're planning on not sleep Sunday night and just staying awake, chatting. We may end up chillin in our aula all together but we may end up just us hermanas en nuestra casa. We'll see.

Our devocional on martes was of Elder Bednar. I swear, all these devocionales we see from MTCs are fantastic. The apostoles are just so funny when not in conferencia. We figure it probably has to do with the fact that conference is watched by members and non members alike, whereas MTC devocionales are just missioneros. Basically it was about taking notes. I tried a new method of notes for conference, but it didn't last. I did try to focus less on quotes and more on what I was feeling though. Mamá, if I don't get a chance to obtain my own copy of the conferencía ensign, will you send me copy? I'm not sure when it'll be out so I may be able to get my own in Illinois, but we'll see. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday for TRC we ended up joining with the "new" district and we taught each other. The chica I was with was, I think, a little overwhelmed by my Spanish. Not trying to brag, but she seems confused much of the tiempo. I taught first and I think she got freaked out when she taught. Afterward when she asked if I had any constructive criticism, I told her just to trust her gut. She knows more spanish than she gives herself credit for. I think we all do, but that's just me. So that was kind of a fun "training" moment for me.

We had FHE yesterday. Just two of us distritos left. So we ate Chokis and played Big Buddha. Oh man. It was so funny. Took us forever to be able to do it, but it was fun all the same. Hermana Powell wants to teach us this game called Bunny Bunny which is really similar. I'm excited. I told them about Hua too. We were hoping to play today during P day but we'll see about that. We're running out of tiempo....

Wow, I guess nothing really happened this week.... I can't think of anything else.
Well, I guess today stuff happened.
La madre de Hermana Haws sent Krispy Kreme donuts so we ate donuts as a distrito. 

We went on a walk around the outskirts of campus and took photos. (I'm way back at the end of this photo....not sure why Capps and I didn't stand at the same tree. I guess we just don't love each other at all.) [that was sarcasm, p.s.] (also, I'm so awkward.)

I figured out there are some cool effects things on my camera....that was nifty. The elderes y Hermana Powell y yo got haircuts today. Hna Powell y yo just got trims. All the boys looks so sharp now. They think it's too short, but they've got a week before they get to Nicaragua; it'll grow.

Yup, that's all I got. Sorry. Here are some photos too, I guess. I've been messing with the file size, so I dunno what they'll all be/how many I can get in one email. We'll see I guess.

Well, next time you hear from me I'll be back in the States, in the lovely if freezing state of Illinois. Pray that I don't freeze and have to be shipped to the mission home as an ice cube.

Thank you so much to everyone for all the love and support. I feel the prayers every day. There are moments when I wouldn't be able to go on without them. ...okay, maybe that's a tad melodramatic, but I do appreciate all the prayers. Love you all.

Con Todo Mi Amor,
Hermana DeBuck
 Us, on our walk.
 One morning. Man, we look tired. But mamá, look at my cabello. Is so curly... (:
  I stole Bronson's name tag without him knowing during Sunday school before conferencía en domingo. So we wore each other's gafets all day.
 awkward selfie...
  donut selfie with my comp. we are soooo adorable...
 selfie in the mirror. I have no idea what these things are but they still freak me out when I see something that doesn't match the background out of the corner of my eye... I can't explain it, but it's odd.
 selfie with the mexican flag.

Man, you'd think I actually liked selfies, but YOSO (you only serve once....)
  take one of this flower with an effect
 take two
 take three
 the elderes with their spiffy new hair cuts
 these weird lego hand looking things just outside the wall... we have no idea what they are. Can anyone enlighten us?
 hay muchos arboles with rojo x's on them...they look like they've been marked for destruction...
 take four of that round with that flower.